EDITORIAL: Fix is long overdue

Dump truck-car collision underscores danger of uncontrolled 176 Street intersection

Tuesday morning’s collision between a dump truck and a compact car could easily have turned out far worse than it appears to have done. According to police, the crash, which took place around 11 a.m. at the intersection of 176 Street (Highway 15) and 40 Avenue, sent the dump truck into the ditch and two people to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

We don’t know yet exactly what led to the crash, but it’s not hard to imagine.

As the number of vehicles on South Surrey roads continues to grow, this particular intersection is becoming increasingly infamous as a spot where east- and westbound drivers, trying to cross or turn left onto busy 176 Street often take dangerous chances as they grow impatient waiting for a break in traffic. What might look like a manageable opening closes quickly when vehicles are travelling at highway speeds. And the faster vehicles are moving along this designated truck route, of course, the more potentially devastating the collision.

Immediately following a crash at this same corner, that took the life of a young man in September 2019, calls went up for improvements to the intersection, with many suggesting a traffic light would be the appropriate remedy. Others noted that even a median limiting vehicles to right turns on and off the highway would go a long way to improving safety.

“How many fatalities will it take until a traffic light is put at that intersection? Trying to cross to turn left onto 176th at 40th feels like a death trap,” Jennifer DeBruyn wrote on Peace Arch News’ Facebook page following the fatal 2019 collision.

Shortly after the story of Tuesday’s crash was posted to the web, commenters once again began calling for a solution. And it looks like they may get it sooner rather than later.

The intersection, which falls under provincial jurisdiction, is on the Ministry of Transportation’s schedule to be addressed next month, with improvements expected to be completed in March, according to an email to PAN Tuesday afternoon.

It is still unclear what form these improvements will take and why it has taken this long for some kind of safety measure to be put in place.

A traffic light, may well be the long-term solution, but for now, even a concrete median would do the job – enforcing a right-turn only rule.

The sooner something is done, the better. Drivers and passengers involved in the next collision may not be as lucky as those in last Tuesday’s crash.


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